Living in a Daydream
Kirstie McNulty is a freelance Fashion Photographer working across the UK specialising in photography for fashion brands, TV advertising alongside portraits and personal projects. We got in touch with Kirstie to find out more about her editorial and fashion work. Read what she had to say:
Fabrik: We’re so pleased to have you as a Fabrik Hero! To begin, we'd love for you to share a bit more about yourself in your own words?
Kirstie McNulty: "Kirstie McNulty, single lady, living in sunny Manchester, England, as a freelance Fashion Photographer. No this isn't a single ad... this is myself in my own words! I love living in Manchester, it has been the precipice for many new waves of creation over the years and to move here from the North East of England was very exciting for me. I have now lived here for over 20 years and it is definitely a place to call home. Being a freelance fashion photographer puts me in a creative set of friends and colleagues that has been so fruitful, culturally, socially and learning with such talented people can only bring out the best in you. The rest is just being nosey and you should probably reach out to me directly for any further enquiries."
Fabrik: When did you realise photography was something you wanted to do? And what drew you to fashion and editorial photography?
Kirstie McNulty: "Being young and unsure of what I wanted back then I simply worked to have fun but knew I wasn’t fulfilling my potential. I then happened to work at a company that sold a fuji S1 pro and I decided photography could be an interesting career for me. A guy I worked with sold me my first camera, a Minolta SLR, and off I went shooting everything and anything. With my newly created portfolio I found a job as an assistant photographer at a small studio, working in still life.
From this point I had arrived within my creative industry and my journey began. I met an amazing friend, who helped push me forward to one of the biggest studios in Manchester at the time. There I learnt on the job, working in the best and busy studios on a variety of still life photography sets. However I knew my heart was in fashion so I started shooting my friend as a model and pitched to move over to the fashion studios. Then I started working with different crews travelling the world working with fashion brands. Eventually showing my editorials shot in my own time I was promoted to photographer. Determination is everything."
Fabrik: Where do you find inspiration before shooting a project and what fuels your creativity?
Kirstie McNulty: "Everything is inspirational depending on how you view it. Music, Films, Art, Family and Friends. We live in a world where our senses are constantly bombarded with images and ideas. It is how you take that information and then create something out of it."
Fabrik: What photography equipment do you use and why?
Kirstie McNulty: "I use Canon, as I always have and feel comfortable and familiar with it. It does exactly what I want it to. I use the basics of the camera and have little interest in the detail of technical equipment, other than it is very good at its job. I feel a bond with my camera, if I used the same camera from someone else it wouldn't feel right. Short answer but it is as simple as that!"
Fabrik: Do you personally have a love for fashion? And if yes, how would you describe your style?
Kirstie McNulty: "Yes of course I love fashion, I grew up in the "SuperModel" age. It was exciting, fun and so unattainable it was otherworldly. We had programmes such as 'Absolutely Fabulous' to teach us it's all just a bit of fun in a multimillionaire industry kinda way! Fashion is self expression and everyone no matter how much money they spend can create something interesting and unique. I myself have an adventure for patterns, fun and a light hearted feel to the clothes I wear. Comfort is key. My aim for the future is large kaftans and comfortable shoes."
"Being a freelance Fashion Photographer puts me in a creative set of friends and colleagues that has been so fruitful, culturally, socially and learning with such talented people can only bring out the best in you."
Fabrik: Your portfolio shows a diversity of locations both outdoors and on-set/studio, how do you adapt your technique for the different light?
Kirstie McNulty: "It depends if it’s editorial or a fashion client and needs to have consistent lighting. Obviously each job will have its possibilities and restrictions. Before every job I have a brief dictating the mood and style for the shoot including a mood board. From there I can start to decide what lenses I will use, what the location is like and what available lighting will be to hand and what other added lighting I may need to combine to achieve the look. All of this naturally has my style and ideas of interpretation of the brief which is why the client has chosen me. I’m lucky to have clients that trust my instincts. However: I think Rankin said it best in his book titled "Making it up as I’m going along."
Fabrik: Do you prefer shooting with natural light outdoors or in a controlled studio environment?
Kirstie McNulty: "It would have to be natural light. If I could get away with that all the time it would be my preferred style. But playing with light and adding flash or another constant light can be so rewarding and have beautiful effects. I love trying to show a slanted and slightly make-believe feel to my photography. Maybe because I like to live in a day dream."
Fabrik: Is there a particular milestone within your career as a photographer that you feel most proud of?
Kirstie McNulty: "I would have naturally said: My first job to shoot on location overseas, I have worked many times in beautiful locations as an Assistant Photographer. But my first big shoot overseas as a photographer in Palms Springs was a fabulous experience. The environment of going away for two weeks with an amazing team, bonding and creating images felt very privileged indeed. However, recently I have been involved in some more personal work collaborations with poets and dancers which I have felt a real connection to. The work has actually been more impactful on my life. And is now shaping how I would like to see my photography in the future."
"I love trying to show a slanted and slightly make-believe feel to my photography. Maybe because I like to live in a day dream."
Fabrik: What are your plans for the future? Can you give us insight on any projects that you’re currently working on?
Kirstie McNulty: "I’m actually learning some new skills i.e. video and video editing. Something I am starting to offer clients, the creative output from this will be exciting. Also a project I am currently working on is collating my work, to create exhibitions highlighting my experiences in certain areas of my life. For example, I have a lot of journalistic photographs throughout the pandemic, of a clubbing era, house parties and general family photos. All which have beauty and the right to be put out there. I look forward to where this leads me as there is a lot to get through."
Fabrik: Final question. What do you like most about Fabrik? What's your favourite feature?
Kirstie McNulty: "My favourite feature is how easily I can change the design/format of my website. Every so often you need to shake up and redefine your work, add new and take out some old maybe. But to be able to change the format without having to do much more than choose layouts, makes me feel in-control of my brand. It is very easy to use and the results are beautiful."
Kirstie uses Calico, a magazine format theme with unique homepage layouts and several project layout options geared towards presenting longer-form projects and blog posts. Creatives with lots of projects will appreciate Calico’s customisation options.